Performance is Now Mostly About People
People are the most important factor in making a business successful today. People are employees, customers and shareholders. People are decision makers. And people are really confusing, unpredictable, emotional, passionate and fearful.
Even worse for organization leaders, people are resisting being controlled more every day. When we focus on people as employees, this is a real problem for how organizations currently operate. Management has grown up to build predictable results through control, precision, repeatability and efficient deployment of assets. One of those “assets” managed is people (employees). Leaders are slowly waking up to the realization that there is a chasm between the expectation of results (people’s performance) and understanding what drives people’s contribution (who are the main reason for achieving sustained growth).
Business strategy has been about being the market leader in either product innovation, process efficiency or customer relationships. The strategy has been to pick one area to be the recognized industry best and be good at the other two areas. Pretty simple model and it has worked for decades. Until now. The model has consistently underestimated the strategic value of people.
Workforce Revolution is Coming
The wake up call has arrived in the form of dissatisfied and disenfranchised employees. People view themselves as free agents in the work force who have the ultimate power of leaving the organization for a better situation. People are now the most important “asset” and they can walk out the door at any time. This should have been a perfectly predictable outcome. But, people are still merely just an expense item in financial statements; corporate balance sheets have yet to capture people as an explicitly valued asset. And it is apparent to most employees that they are not valued as an asset or worthy of investment.
The growing recognition of this shift is evident in the rise in publications and movements that advocate a focus on individuals and rethinking organizational theories and models. We have mentioned books such as Reinventing Organizations (Laloux) and Enlightenment Incorporated (Lochridge and Rosenzweig) who are heralding the workplace revolution. Harvard Business Review published Rita McGrath’s article “Management’s Three Eras: A Brief History” in July 2014 warning that business has passed through the eras of Execution (efficient mass production) and Expertise (knowledge workers), now entering the era of Empathy (meaningful and purposeful contribution). Movements such B Corporation (www.bcorporation.net) have sprung into being and action to advocate to businesses worldwide that “people matter” as a part of the declaration of its member companies worldwide.
The shift is happening. Believe us. Executives that want to grow or continue success in their industry better get serious about taking action to embrace the changes needed to unlock the potential in their people assets. The obvious place to begin… is with the people in the organization.
Start by Recognizing Individual Beliefs
People are fragmented. A reset of organization values to specifically recognize each employees’ personal beliefs is integral to performance and success. This reset invites people to bring more of their whole being into the workplace. By whole being, we mean spirit, mind, emotions, body, intuition, feelings, imagination, passion and purpose. Invite people to put all their energy into their choice to be a part of a team aligned with an organization whose purpose they want to elevate. This recognition of the importance of individual beliefs to the good of the whole organization opens the door to understand performance in a new light.
The root cause of all performance results, good or bad, are beliefs. Don’t believe that? Take just a few moments to look into information about the drivers of performance and success. You will instantly find that the belief a person has in themselves, their purpose, their role in a team and the ability to make a contribution to the greater team purpose are all critical factors that lead to superior performance. Belief is so important that the practice of visualization which accumulates experience reinforcing a person’s belief is a hallmark of developing star performers. Athletes, actors, educators and entrepreneurs who are the top of their field all exhibit exceptional clarity of their beliefs. They embrace a “believe it to see it” manifesto. If they are a part of a team, the same focus is applied to aligning with the team’s collective beliefs.
A great deal of effort is invested in uncovering, shaping and reinforcing beliefs to overcome limitations, unconscious defeatism and self-management. This is what organizations will invest in that are seriously pursuing people as strategic value.
Honoring the Whole Person
Invite each person to develop a better understanding and clarity for their personal beliefs. Acknowledging and giving power to the whole person necessarily means people need to access their own beliefs (which drives who they are) and values (which directs what they do). Tapping into individual beliefs is not a “hard skills” area. You can’t put someone through a training class, webinar, or online training program and have predictable, immediate performance inducing results. But, this is not therapy or counseling.
Coaching people through an experience that helps them build new skills to consciously explore both their beliefs and how those beliefs effect their work and life is fundamental. Being more conscious of what drives intentions, choices, thoughts, words and actions is the pathway to unlocking new energy and new untapped potential.
When people are embraced for their individuality and belong to an organization that holds common beliefs, the impossible is possible. Untapped passion, ingenuity and performance are unlocked through accessing the deep underbelly of what we all are as human beings. Beliefs are the commands that direct our whole being.
~ Coach Lane Michel